Monday, May 7, 2012

Naming the Next Gen

Baby Boomers are the most identifiable generational segment in America, covering the 78 million people born from 1946 to 1964. Gen X is defined as the 46 million people born from 1965 to 1980. The Millennials are the 76 million Americans born from 1981 to 2000 (according to Pew) or 1982 to 2004, according to Neil Howe. Gen Y? Roughly overlaps with the Millennials.

But what will the next generation segment be called? Jean Twenge has been calling the next gen iGen for the past six years. She also suggests Multi-Gen as a segment name for this generation that follows the Millennials.

We like to nickname generations because, like a brand, it instantly identifies the segment in a broad way. When marketers think about "Baby Boomers," they envision people who were teenagers in the 1960s and who are now in or approaching their retirement years. Millennials are in their teens, "born digital."

These generational descriptions are shorthand for some of the common characteristics of each segment. Of course, only by digging beneath the surface can companies really understand what motivates and energizes their targeted segments within each generation.

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